PARKERSBURG, W.Va. -- State wildlife officials believe hemorrhagic disease killed several deer in Calhoun County and the cases are being treated as an outbreak.
There also have been reports of the disease in Roane County, said Jeff McCrady, a wildlife biologist with the Division of Natural Resources.
"I think it is probably positive, based on the outward appearance of the deer,'' McCrady told the Parkersburg News and Sentinel. "...We are proceeding as if it is.''
Samples of lung and spleen tissue from the Calhoun County deer were sent to the University of Georgia for testing. The testing requires fresh samples.
"Seeing a deer two days ago in this heat is too late. ... It is not easy to confirm,'' McCrady said.
The disease, which is transmitted by gnats, causes deer to hemorrhage internally and dehydrate. Infected deer head to water and more than one carcass found near water indicates the disease's presence.
"Usually multiple deer is an automatic trigger in our minds that it is hemorrhagic disease,'' McCrady said.
Hemorrhagic disease cannot be transmitted to humans but "it can kill a fair number of deer,'' he said.
"We probably have it every year somewhere in the state, it's not like it is a real rare thing,''
There is no treatment for hemorrhagic disease. Most cases appear in late summer or early fall, several months after deer are bitten. The disease's spread stops when freezing temperatures arrive.
"Once the cool weather comes and the gnats die, it doesn't go any further,'' McCrady said.